The Battle for the 1861 Election

1861
Oliver Mowat. Source: The Canadian Portrait Gallery, Project Gutenberg Canada.Pinterest
Oliver Mowat. Source: The Canadian Portrait Gallery, Project Gutenberg Canada.

In the 1861 general election, John A. found himself in a tight battle for his Kingston seat, running against his former schoolmate Oliver Mowat. The fight was nasty with raised fists and blows and slurs between the two sides. In a moment of ill temper, after an accusation by Mowat in the assembly, Macdonald rose from his seat and roared across the floor shouting, “You damn pup! I'll slap your chops.” Mowat, a plump, bespectacled, teetotalling, do-gooder had pushed his former childhood friend too far. When the votes were tallied, three days after the election, John A. had 758 votes and Mowat had 474.